Watch out – deer
STEER CLEAR OF RUTTING STAGS – WARNING SENT TO DOG WALKERS AND VISITORS TO RICHMOND PARK
SELFIE-ADDICTS, photographers and dog walkers have been warned to steer well clear of the deer in Richmond Park while they rut.
Dog-walkers have even been warned to avoid the park entirely this autumn, as the deer are currently “highly aggressive”.
The stags are battling out to be the alpha males in the herd in order to be seen as the most attractive mate by the does in the park.
And it is feared that humans could get caught in the crossfire.
The Royal Parks have issued a warning for the season, after a woman was gored by a deer in October last year, suffering injuries to her thigh and abdomen in the mauling.
Male deer are involved in rutting every autumn. It is a physical means of attracting as many females as possible.
Fallow bucks and red stags are known to roar, bark and clash antlers in an attempt to fight off rivals and assert their dominance.
Rutting season usually runs from September until November in the UK, during which time the male deer are at a testosterone peak.
However, these high testosterone levels are known to make the animals “highly” aggressive.
The advice from the Royal Parks states that Richmond Park’s 600 deer and Bushy Park’s 300 deer should be steered well clear of.
Royal Parks have warned visitors to Richmond and Bushy parks to “always keep at least 50 metres away from the deer”.
The advice also tells the park users, who range from mums and toddlers and horse riders to wildlife photographers, never to touch the deer, which it reminds us all are wild animals and not pets.
Park users are also being told never to photograph the deer at close range, instead using a long range lens.
They also advise that photos be taken either in the early morning or on weekdays, when the park is less busy.
Finally, park-goers are also warned never to get in between two deer during the rutting season.
Adam Curtis, assistant park manager for Richmond Park, said: “We issue this advice for the wellbeing of our deer and park visitors.
“Deer can become stressed and behave unpredictably if they feel threatened by dogs or have hordes of people standing close by trying to take pictures.”
It’s not just humans that are under threat, with dog owners also told that male deer have been known to attack dogs behaving in a “provocative manner”, as they can feel threatened.
Dog-walkers have been told to try to avoid Richmond and Bushy parks entirely during the rutting season.
If they do feel the need to visit the parks they are asked to ensure their dogs are on a leash at all times.
They are also asked to consider using an alternative route, along the outer wall of the park, where they are close to the gates.
If a deer does give chase, you are advised to let go of the leash to allow the dog to run away, with the deer unlikely to give chase in these circumstances.
Similar conditions occur every summer, from May to July, during the deer’s birthing season.
Deer clash in Richmond Park